Notebook: Banged-up Demps makes impact
Published: Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 10:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 10:55 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE — Still not fully healthy, junior running back Jeff Demps did the most he could to be an effective weapon for Florida on Saturday.
With a sprained foot still hampering him, Demps carried the ball nine times for 38 yards and a touchdown in the Gators' 34-31 overtime win over Georgia.
"I'm almost there. Probably about 90 percent," Demps said of the injured foot after the game. "I'll just keep getting treatment."
Demps might not have been the home-run threat that's made him one of the most exciting players in college football, but he certainly helped Florida's offense click on a day in which the Gators registered 450 yards of offense.
He was a decoy at times in the backfield, lined up wide and still gutted through Florida's infamous dive play a few times.
Demps even surprised everyone inside EverBank Field when he sprinted down the right sideline toward the end of the first half and hauled in a 40-yard pass from quarterback John Brantley. The play was originally signaled a touchdown, but was ruled down at the 1-yard line after an official review.
Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said getting Demps back closer to full strength adds a much-needed speed factor to an offense struggling to find a positive identity. Florida finished with 231 rushing yards Saturday.
Florida coach Urban Meyer would like to exploit as much of that speed as possible, but said it's much harder when Demps isn't 100-percent healthy.
"We all know Demps really well," Meyer said. "My gosh, we've got to get him back."
After failing to score in the first quarter for the seventh time in eight games, Florida registered a season-high 247 first-half yards. That's more than the Gators had in total against Miami of Ohio (212) and LSU (243).
Brantley threw for 126 of those yards, and the Gators rushed for 121 yards against a Georgia defense that entered with the SEC's No. 1 rushing defense (90.8 yards per game).
Riggs replaces Brown
After getting beat on Georgia receiver Tavarres King's 63-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter, redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown was benched for freshman Cody Riggs.
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Brown wasn't hurt and felt Riggs was the better option to finish the game.
"We wanted to give Cody an opportunity to go in there and make something happen," Austin said. "He did a good job while he was in there."
Riggs finished with three tackles and pass breakup.
Redshirt freshman receiver Andre Debose and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard both missed Saturday's game with ankle injuries.
Debose dressed and warmed up a little, while Howard didn't dress. Both were hurt against Mississippi State two weeks ago.
Despite going 0-for-5 in the first quarter with an interception, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray finished with a career-high 313 yards against Florida.
Though he finished the night with two costly interceptions, Murray still made plenty of plays with his arm and legs. He tossed touchdown passes of 63, 29 and 15 yards and netted 16 rushing yards, including a long of 15.
"He's a really good player," Austin said of Murray. "He really jump-started them and he has some really good weapons."
Still, Murray's good plays didn't outweigh his mistakes.
"You have to be accurate when you play this athletic of a team," he said. "I had little jitters and (was) more amped up than most games."
The official attendance was 84,444. ... Florida is now 40-46-2 all-time against Georgia and Meyer is 14-1 as a head coach coming off a bye week. He's 8-0 at Florida. Meyer improved to 2-0 in overtime games at Florida, and Florida is 3-2 all-time in overtime games. ... Chas Henry's 61-yard punt in the third quarter was his fourth this season that went for more than 60 yards. ... With three interceptions on the day, Florida has 30 picks in its last 36 games. ... Florida's 91-yard scoring drive at the start of the second quarter was the longest for the Gators this season. ... The last time the Gators played an overtime game was Nov. 5, 2005, when UF defeated Vanderbilt 49-42 in double-overtime.